Lewis Hamilton And Mercedes Do The Double, Wins Just Another Grand Prix
Mercedes dominated the Chinese Grand Prix to earn a 1-2 finish with Lewis Hamilton securing victory from the jaws of self-doubt. Hamilton had seemed at odds for most of the weekend as he tried to get to grips with his Mercedes. He did during qualifying but was beaten to pole by teammate Valtteri Bottas by a slender margin. However, the Mercedes were unexpectedly fast around the Chinese track, perhaps getting the best out the tyres.
By comparison, Ferrari was some margin off the top qualifying pace and could not get near the Mercedes duo on Saturday. Indeed Red Bull looked more like a threat to Ferrari than Ferrari did to Mercedes.
But come the race day Mercedes used their track specific advantage and two stops to secure a relatively easy double podium. Hamilton made an excellent start from second and jumped Bottas to take the lead into the first corner.
From there, Hamilton steadily built up a small lead and held he did unto the end.
Bottas was unable to beat Hamilton who retained a narrow but comfortable margin for much of the race. It didn’t go quite to plan for the Torro Rosso of Kvyatt who caused a collision with both McLarens on lap 1.
All three would later retire as a result of underlying damage caused by Kvyatts clumsy decision making.
As for Ferrari, they tried but failed to beat the Mercedes despite having the more powerful car. Tension was raised after Ferrari instructed Leclerc (who jumped Vettel for third at the start) to let his team mate through. Leclerc wasn’t happy especially so when it became clear the switch didn’t make any difference. And especially so that his race had been comprised as a result.
The Red Bulls were expected to keep Ferrari honest but actually dropped back. Verstappen fought bravely for a lonely 4th. He was briefly ahead of Vettel after the first round of pit stops but Vettel fought back cannily to claim third overall.
So, three races in and Mercedes have claimed three wins and three double podiums. It’s against the run of pre-season testing and confounding at the same time because Ferrari have what many consider to be the best car on the grid.
However, the 2019 season is all about who can extract the best efficiency out of the tyre compounds. Ferrari did so at Bahrain but failed to win because of engine issues. It seems Mercedes has learned how to best manage the tyres for at least two out of three races.
2019 Chinese Grand Prix Results:
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||56||+27.627s||12|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing Honda||56||+89.307s||9|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||55||+1 lap||6|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||55||+1 lap||4|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55||+1 lap||2|
|10||23||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||55||+1 lap||1|
|11||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||55||+1 lap||0|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||55||+1 lap||0|
|13||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||55||+1 lap||0|
|14||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||55||+1 lap||0|
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||55||+1 lap||0|
|16||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||54||+2 laps||0|
|17||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||54||+2 laps||0|
|18||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||50||DNF||0|
|NC||26||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||41||DNF||0|
Note – Gasly scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Albon started the race from the pit lane.